- scene: Europeans, ladies who lunch and people with strollers during the day; night-time varies by location
- sip: Pinot Grigio, Peroni, Pellegrino
- savor: Focaccia di Sofia; chicken Milanse; pasta Al Pacino; chicken paillard
- sit: With a girlfriend or two to wind down after shopping; with a group of couples at night
- spend: $$
- address: Various locations
- website: www.serafinarestaurant.com
Serafina is many things to many people: Euro trash lunch spot, Upper East side de-fault cafeteria, joint downstairs in the hotel, etc. The many locations and varied clientele of Serafina should not take away from on very simple fact: The food is consistently delicious. In a town with several Momofukus, being a mini-chain does not a cookie cutter experience make. While the names vary slightly with each location (Serafina Fabulous Pizza, Fabulous Grill, Meatpacking, etc), just look for the yellow and blue awnings.
Serafina is straight-forward Italian food with a little bit of flash. Nothing is extremely new or ground breaking, but the dishes are executed well and of great quality. The large Euro contingent should also attest to this; they know their al dente from the agnolotti, and wouldn’t spend so much time at Serafina if it weren’t the real deal. My favorite way to Serafina is for a boozy lunch with a couple of girlfriends, an alternative to another lunch at Fred’s. The location on 61st is sometimes overrun with children and strollers, especially in the open back back room, so don’t sit there because it will take you from Sex and the City to abstinence quicker than you can say “agnolotti”. The newly opened Meatpacking joint is really packing in the meat- Euro DJ’s start around happy hour most nights and the Kardashian wannabes in last season’s Leger start to roll in for dinner at 10pm. If you are not eating with your promoter, you might want to go on the earlier side or opt for lunch. There is also a bit of a cougar den at bar, MEOW….
My plan is: everyone gets a salad, and some carbs to share for the table. My favorite salads are the Porto Cervo, the Caesar ( also called the Di Sofia- there is a sometthing Di Sofia in every menu category, and they are all different) and the Serafina chicken salad. Pastas I love include the classic spaghetti pomodoro, penne vodka and the Al Pacino (Oglio Alio). They also make an amazing chicken milanese. The also offer a great chicken paillard and simply grilled salmon for the health conscious. Now- all of the pizzas are wood-fired perfection, with a fresh tomato sauce and just enough cheese, but my truly favorite indulgence is the foccacia Di Sofia (no, I am not joking, I told you there is a lot of Di Sofias on the menu). The hot, gooey, rich foccacia sandwich melts in your mouth in a blissful combo of cheese and truffle. It is truly delicious and easy to share.
Moral of this story: Serafina is pretty much a no-brainer for a good meal, any time of day and any part of town. If like some “ciao” with your “chow”, this is your spot…
Note: the 61st street location just moved next door, so the baby room is no longer an issue…